Enticing Isis

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by David Atherton, Sep 17, 2020.

  1. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic Supporter

    Finding attractive Alexandrian bronzes can sometimes be a challenge. Many come worn or in substandard condition. I was quite happy to have recently found one with good eye appeal.

    RPC2420-.jpg Vespasian
    Æ Diobol, 8.85g
    Alexandria mint, 69-70 AD
    Obv: ΑΥΤΟΚ ΚΑΙΣ ΣΕΒΑ ΟΥΕΣΠΑΣΙΑΝΟΥ; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
    Rev: LΒ; bust of Isis, r.
    RPC 2420 (8 spec.).
    Acquired from CGB.fr, September 2020.

    This diobol struck in Vespasian's second regnal year features a bust of the goddess Isis wearing a headdress of cow horns enclosing a sun disk. The cult of Isis was very popular during the First Century and was given a particular boost by the Flavians, likely owing to Vespasian's lengthy sojourn in Alexandria prior to his arrival in Rome. Tellingly, Vespasian and Titus's joint triumphal procession of 71 at Rome started near the Temple of Isis where they had spent the night, a good indication of how important the Isis cult was to the Flavians. I think it's no accident this ethnic type was chosen as a standard reverse design for Vespasian's Alexandrian bronzes.

    Show off your coins featuring Isis!
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2020
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  3. Parthicus

    Parthicus Well-Known Member

    Here's my Alexandrian diobol of Vespasian featuring Isis:
    Vespasian Isis.jpg
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  4. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    That's a very haggard-looking Isis, @David Atherton!

    The only coin with Isis I have is this one, which I've posted a couple of times before:

    Julia Domna, AR Denarius ca. 201 AD, Rome Mint. Obv. Draped bust right, hair waved vertically and fastened in large bun in back, IVLIA AVGVSTA / Rev. Isis, wearing polos on head, draped, standing three-quarters right, head right, holding the nursing infant Horus in left arm against left breast, with her right hand holding a wreath or other ring-shaped object against her chest, her left foot against prow, right, and her left knee bent with Horus resting on it; to left of Isis, rudder rests against altar; SAECVLI FELICITAS. RIC IV-1 577 (p. 170), RSC III 174 (ill.), Sear RCV II 6606, BMCRE 166. 18x20 mm., 3.35 g., 6 h. Ex. A.K. Collection; ex. CNG Triton XX Auction, Jan. 10, 2017, part of Lot # 614, No. E027.

    Julia Domna  Denarius - Isis & Horus Reverse - jpg version RIC IV-1 577, RSC 174, Sear RCV 6606.jpg
  5. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Isis and her sistrum:

    Claudius II Gothicus, AD 268-270.
    Roman billon antoninianus, 4.07 g, 22.4 mm, 5 h.
    Antioch, officina 5, issue 1, end 268-end 269.
    Obv: IMP C CLAVDIVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust, right.
    Rev: SALVS AVG, Isis standing left, holding sistrum and situla; Є in exergue.
    Refs: RIC 217A; MER/RIC temp 1024; Cohen 256; RCV 11370; Huvelin 1990, 10; Normanby 1109.
    Curtisimo, +VGO.DVCKS, Orfew and 14 others like this.
  6. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic Supporter

    It probably didn't help that the same engraver who did the obverse portrait likely did the Isis bust as well! She looks like Vespasian's sister.
  7. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    Same as the DonnaML denarius:

    Curtisimo, +VGO.DVCKS, Orfew and 14 others like this.
  8. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    I always wonder what a systrum sounded like. I suppose since some have survived from antiquity that it's possible to hear one. Probably between a rattle and a tambourine. Wiki says "soft clank to a jangling".

  9. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    I like this one a lot, great looking bronze, David.
    Orfew and David Atherton like this.
  10. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    That is far above the Flavian norm for eye appeal. I do not have a nice solo Isis Provincial so I'll fall back on this broken Commodus with Serapis and Isis from Nicopolis.
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  11. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Vespasian 11.jpg
    Æ Diobol
    REVERSE: LE, Draped bust of Isis right wearing uraeus crown
    Struck at Alexandria, Egypt, Year 5 = 72/73 A.D
    9.15 g, 24.9mm
    RPC 2438; Milne 427; Emmett 217
    Ex Zuzim Judaea Coins, New York
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  12. Broucheion

    Broucheion Supporter! Supporter

    Hi All,

    Isis Pharia.


    Hadrian Æ Drachm, Year 17
    34x35 mm
    Weight: 25.7 grams
    Axis: 0
    OBV: Hadrian laureate draped bust facing right. Legend: AVTKAICTPAIAN• - AΔPIANOCCЄB. Dotted border.
    REV: Isis Pharia facing right holding billowing sail with left hand and sistrum in outstretched right hand. Pharos lighthouse to right. In left field: LIZ. Dotted border.
    Refs: Emmett-1000.17; Geissen-1078; Dattari-1758 var

    Bought when solid chocolate brown patinas and golden highlights were the norm in the marketplace.

    - Broucheion
  13. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Like this:
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2020
  14. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    If you saw the famed clip on SNL with Christopher Walken and Blue Oyster Cult...

    "I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more systrum!"
    +VGO.DVCKS, TIF and Roman Collector like this.
  15. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    (one looks like it is past the expiration date)

    RI AR Den Julia Domna 200 CE Felicitas Isis Horus RIC 577

    And, her Fouree:

    RI Julia Domna 194-217 Fouree AR Plated Den Isis Horus
  16. ancientone

    ancientone Well-Known Member

    Nice Isis on that Diobol David!

    A few times over the limit on posting these.
    Aeolis, Cyme. AE18. Amazon Kyme/Isis

    Obv: K VMH Amazon Kyme bust r., turreted.
    Rev: KVM AIWN Isis standing l., sistrum in r., situla in l.
    Time of Valerian to Gallienus.

    Thrace, Serdica. Marcus Aurelius AE20. Bust of Isis

    Obv: AY KAI M AYPH ANTΩNINOC Head facing r.
    Rev: CEPΔWN Bust of Isis decorated with lotus r.

    Attached Files:

  17. PeteB

    PeteB Well-Known Member

    PHRYGIA, Laodicea ad Lycum. Pseudo-autonomous issue. Time of Tiberius. 14-37 AD. Æ 16mm; 2.82 gm; 6h. Obv: Laureate head of Apollo right; lyre to lower right; ΛΑΟΔΙ(ΚE)ΩΝ to left and below. Rev: Serpent-entwined altar, surmounted by headdress of Isis. ΠYΘHΣ to left, ΠYΘOY to right. Pythes, son of Pythes, magistrate. RPC 2903; SNG Copenhagen 510 (temp. Augustus); SNG von Aulock 3806 (same); BMC 61 (same).
  18. Edessa

    Edessa Supporter! Supporter

    Roman Egypt, Alexandria. Hadrian, AD 117-138. Billon Tetradrachm (25mm, 12.46 g, 12h). Dated RY 8 (AD 123/124). Obv: Laureate bust right, with Aegis. Rev: Draped bust of Isis right, wearing taenia and crowned with solar disk and horns; L-H (date) across field. Ref: Köln 855; Dattari (Savio) 1398; K&G 32.250; RPC III 5440; Emmett 866.8. Ex CNG, from the New Orleans Collection. Ex Cornelius C. Vermeule III Collection.

  19. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    @Broucheion, that one is remarkable. Is it just me, or does the reverse evoke Pharoahnic and Ptolemaic relief sculpture?
    Broucheion likes this.
  20. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Egypt, Alexandria. Dattari. Vespasian, 69-79 Diobol circa 70-71 (year 3), Æ
    ( 26.5mm., 9.15g.)
    Obv: Laureate head r.
    Rev. Bust of Isis r.; in front, LΓ. RPC 2430 (this coin cited as example #11 on RPC online).. Dattari-Savio Pl. 14, 382 (this coin).
    Brown tone. Very Fine.
    From the Dattari collection.
    Naville Numismatics Auction #30, Lot 283, April 02, 2017.
    Coin depicted in the wildwinds.com database.

  21. Broucheion

    Broucheion Supporter! Supporter

    Hi @+VGO.DVCKS,

    I agree that this stiffer Hellenistic incarnation of Isis is one that the native Egyptians might have felt comfortable with. The image is still in use on badges and the shield and flag of the Governate of Alexandria.


    - Broucheion
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